Bethel School District Board Policy Manual
Excused and Unexcused Absences
Daily attendance is one of the keys to a student's educational success. Every subject taught in the school system requires a student's active and continuous involvement in order to develop skills and learnings of the particular subject. Most classroom experiences cannot be duplicated on an individual basis; an absent student loses the experience of lecture, discussion, and participation forever.
All students enrolled in the schools of the Bethel Schools District are expected to attend all assigned classes on a regular basis. Upon enrollment and at the beginning of each school year, the district shall inform students and their parents/guardians of this expectation, the benefits of regular school attendance, the consequences of truancy, the role and responsibility of the district in regard to truancy, and resources available to assist the student and their parents and guardians in correcting truancy. The district will also make this information available online and will take reasonable steps to ensure parents can request and be provided such information in languages in which they are fluent. Parents will be required to date and acknowledge review of this information online or in writing.
DEFINITION OF ABSENCE
Not physically present on school grounds; and not participating in the following activities at an approved location: instruction, any related instruction related activity or any other district or school approved activity that is regulated by an instructional/academic accountability system, such as participation in in district sponsored sports.
EXCUSED ABSENCES -Reasons
Regular school attendance is necessary for mastery of the educational program provided to students of the district. Students at times may appropriately be absent from class. School staff will keep a record of absences and tardiness, including a call log and or a record of excuse statements submitted by a parent or guardian, or in certain cases, students to document a student’s excused absences. The following principles shall govern the development and administration of attendance procedures within the district. The following are valid excuses for absences
- Participation in a district or school approved activity or instructional program
- Illness, health condition, or medical appointment (including but not limited to medical, counseling, dental, or optometry, pregnancy, and inpatient or outpatient treatment for chemical dependency or mental health) for the student or person for whom the student is legally responsible
- Family emergency, including but not limited to a death or illness in the family
- Religious or cultural purpose including observance of a religious or cultural holiday or participation in religious or
Court, judicial proceeding or serving on a jury
Postsecondary, technical school or apprenticeship program visitation or scholarship interview
State-recognized search and rescue activities consistent with RCW28A.225.055;
Absence directly related to the student’s homeless status
Absences related to deployment activities of a parent or legal guardian who is an active duty member consistent
with RCW 28A.705.010;
Absences due to suspensions, expulsions or emergency expulsions imposed pursuant to to chapter 392400 WAC if the student is not receiving educational services and is not enrolled in qualifying “course of study” activities as defined by WAC 392121107
- Absences due to student safety concerns, including absences related to threats, assaults, or bullying
- Absences due to a student's migrant status and
- Principal (or designee) and parent, guardian, or emancipated youth mutually agreed upon approved activity.
The school principal (or designee) has the authority to determine if an absence meets the above criteria for an excused absence.
Unexcused Daily Absences
Any absence from school is unexcused unless it meets one of the criteria above for an excused absence.
Make Up Work
If an absence is excused, the student will be permitted to make up all missed assignments outside of class under reasonable conditions and time limits established by the appropriate teacher except that in participation type classes a student's grade may be affected because of the student's inability to make up the activities conducted during a class period.
An excused absence will be verified by the parent; adult, emancipated or appropriately aged student; or school authority responsible for the absence. If attendance is taken electronically, either for a course conducted online or for students physically within the district, an absence will default to unexcused until such time as an excused absence may be verified by a parent or other responsible adult. If a student is to be released for health care related to family planning or abortion, the student may require that the district keep the information confidential. Students thirteen and older have the right to keep information about drug, alcohol or mental health treatment confidential. Students fourteen and older have the same confidentiality rights regarding HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
- Absences from school for more than 50% (fifty percent) of a student's scheduled day are unexcused unless it meets one of the criteria above for an excused absence.
- As a means of instilling values of responsibility and personal accountability, a student whose absence is not excused will experience the consequences of his/her absence. A student’s grade may be affected if a graded activity or assignment occurs during the period of time when the student is absent.
- The school will notify a student’s parent or guardian in writing or by telephone whenever the student has failed to attend school after one unexcused absence within any month during the school year. The notification will include the potential consequences of additional unexcused absences.
- A conference with the parent or guardian will be held after three unexcused absences within any month during the school year. A student may be suspended or expelled for habitual truancy. Prior to suspension or expulsion, the parent will be notified in writing in his or her primary language that the student has unexcused absences. A conference will be scheduled to determine what corrective measures should be taken to ameliorate the cause of the student’s absences from school. If the parent or guardian does not attend the conference, the conference will be conducted with the student and school official. However, parent or guardian will be notified of the steps the district has decided to take to reduce the student’s absences.
- Not later than the students fifth unexcused absence in a month the district shall enter into an agreement with the student and parent that establishes school attendance requirements, refer the student to a community truancy board or file a petition and affidavit with the juvenile court alleging a violation of RCW 28A.225.010.
- If such action is not successful, the district shall file a petition and affidavit with the juvenile court alleging a violation of RCW 28A.225.010 by the parent, student or parent and student no later than the seventh unexcused absence within any month during the current school year or upon the tenth unexcused absence during the current school year.
- All suspensions and or expulsions will be reported in writing to the superintendent or designee within 24 hours after imposition.
The superintendent and designee will enforce the district’s attendance policies and procedures. Because the full knowledge and cooperation of students and parents are necessary for the success of the policies and procedures, procedures will be disseminated broadly and made available to parents and students annually.